Sunday, 20 September 2020

Oppression (or unconscious bias training, taken to its logical conclusion)

I’ll write about my privilege, I’m white

And therefore privileged, despite

My poverty and homelessness and failing sight,

And sleeping on the cold, hard street at night.

I have unconscious bias, I’m not brown

And therefore am not really out and down,

I chose my life, and all my seeming lack

Of worldly goods is riches, still,

For I have everything, if I’m not black.

The richest, blackest King, has not my wealth,

The fittest, strongest black has not my health,

I may be broken, drunken, in the gutter, on my back,

But I have privilege you see,

Which means a vast great deal to me,

I say hooray for being a tramp

In my little cardboard camp

I’m free:

At least I’m not black! 

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Grave Digging

 Grave Digging

Bent double, coughing, 

Like the old hag, I know I am,

Now that you’re dead.

Beneath the black elder tree

Where the Wisteria vine 

Grows up, hangs down.

You were bought

As a gift for my daughter

Out of guilt,

For packing her off to boarding school,

After twelve years

Of home ed.

You got exactly three years more of that,

Than she,

The cat’s mother.

I've been dreaming of no more stinking piss, on floors,

Antique settees, sans fleas.

Tears, drip, merge with rain,

I’m trying not to puke into the grave,

In vain,

Hysteria grows up

Bursts out, calms down.

You learned to control yours,

I must control mine.

No coffin for the last cat

I didn’t try too hard to save.

But a little, shrunken grey

Cashmere pully washed away

To a fraction of its size,

As you were, at the end,

Old friend. 

Its arms embrace you in eternal sleep,

As paws once embraced mine,

But the woolly has no claws,

Will not purr as it slits you open,

Will not clamp its vice like jaws.

And a blue towel to hide you from my eyes

As I start to cover you in soil.

And realise,

Though deep,

I haven’t dug quite wide enough

And the phrase

“Too narrow breadth for naught”

Pops into my head

And I try to think instead, of Simpkin,

And his misdeeds and flaws.